Grow Talent, Grow Brands

Month: June, 2013

World’s First Woman Copywriter

Helen Landsdowne Resor (1886 - 1964)

Helen Landsdowne Resor (1886 – 1964)

The world’s first woman copywriter was also a senior vice-president of the world’s first advertising agency that crossed the coveted $100-million mark in billing.

Helen Lansdowne Resor was not only the world’s first woman copy writer but also was the greatest copywriter of her generation as described by the New York Herald Tribune. Furthermore, she will be remembered for her work as vice president of the J. Walter Thompson Company, the first advertising agency that crossed $100-million in billing.

She produced such famed ads as the Woodbury Soap campaign (1910), A Skin You Love to Touch, which is regarded and referenced as the first ad to use sex appeal in an advertisement. The Woodbury Soap campaign established Helen’s distinct style expressing softness, romance and poetry. The Woodbury facial soap, which had been marketed for years for its medicinal properties, turned its attention on the user. The ads also offered free product samples along with a host of skin care regimen tips for the housewife to the high society lady. Sales increased by 1,000 per cent in eight years!

Helen focused on women as her target studying their buying habits and what worked for them. She also understood the power of testimonials and celebrity endorsements.  This is evident in the manner in which she revolutionized endorsement advertising by persuading celebrities such as society leaders and even royalty to appear in her famous Pond’s Cold Cream ads, changing the tone of the medium.

Business and Economic History On-line wrote in article on Uplifting Makeup: Actresses’ Testimonials and the Cosmetic Industry (1910-18),  that the newly established Pond’s Extract Company stopped advertising its signature product and launched two a campaign to promote its lesser-known products, Ponds Cold Cream, and Pond’s Vanishing Cream. Helen, as a copywriter at the J. Walter Thompson Company launched a national campaign to encourage women to incorporate both creams into their daily beauty regimen. She ran ads bearing the slogan, Every normal skin needs these two creams in major newspapers and magazines throughout the country including the number one women’s magazine, The Ladies Home Journal and high-class fashion magazine, Vogue. The campaign was an undisputed success achieving a growth rate of 27 per cent for Pond’s Cold Cream and with Pond’s Vanishing Cream growing at 60 per cent between 1914 and 1916. By 1920, sales for both creams had tripled, firmly establishing Pond’s as one of the leading beauty businesses in the United States.The Pond’s advertising campaign of 1916 was one of the first coordinated attempts by a cosmetics company to reach a broad, middle-class market.

Ponds ad

Lux is one of the most enduring advertising campaigns in history, which made a bar of soap glamorous and luxurious. Helen used the screen stars for endorsing Lux soap in the early nineties that continues world over even today. Lux sold fame, glamour, luxury, and sex appeal then. It sells fame, glamour, luxury and sex appeal even now!

Helen was also known for her innovative style, which is distinctly different from all other advertising at that time. She developed the editorial style of advertising that imitated the layouts of the Ladies’ Home Journals & Evening Posts. It had a newsworthy look, which projected good reputation and credibility, the much-needed attributes to build any brand.

Helen Resor was also the first woman to be successful in writing and planning national advertising, as opposed to retail advertising and ensured that her advertising reflected the feminine point of view. Helen was the first woman to present an advertising campaign to Proctor & Gamble’s board of directors. She was also among the first to use photography in her ads. She was very creative and dynamic. She was always full of ideas and it was said that she had a dozen ideas to the minute. At one point of time, she was supervising about two-thirds of the business handled by J. Walter Thompson’s New York and Boston offices.

She was instrumental in the advancement of women in advertising and encouraged talented young writers. A very active member of the New York suffragist movement, she and her female employees marched in the celebration parade after President Woodrow Wilson signed into law a woman’s right to vote.

Very progressive in her outlook, Helen Resor had significantly contributed to public service. She was a president of the Traveller’s Aid Society, which gave shelter to homeless women during the Depression, and supported institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Radcliffe College, and Planned Parenthood.

Helen Lansdowne Resor was ranked fourteenth on the list of 100 Advertising people of the Twentieth century by Advertising Age. She was inducted posthumously into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 1967.

What is Advertising?

John E. Kennedy (1864 - 1928)

John E. Kennedy (1864 – 1928)

What is advertising?

John E. Kennedy answered this deceptively simple question in 1904, about a hundred-and-ten years ago in three simple words:

Salesmanship in Print.

You cannot better that definition or make it more succinct even today.

Jeffrey L. Cruikshank and Arthur W. Schultz tell us the story behind this question and definition in their book, The Man Who Sold America: The Amazing (but True) Story of Albert D. Lasker and the Creation of the Advertising Century.

Albert D. Lasker, who is often considered to be the founder of modern advertising, started his advertising career with Lord & Thomas, a Chicago based advertising agency in 1898. The story behind the definition of advertising happened sometime in 1904:

“A messenger boy came into the office of Ambrose Thomas, the cofounder of Lord & Thomas who was in a meeting with Albert Lasker, then an accounts executive and copywriter (Lasker later in 1912 became the agency’s sole owner) and handed over a note to Thomas. Thomas scanned the note and tossed it across the desk to Lasker with a chuckle. The note read:

I am in the saloon downstairs. I can tell you what advertising is. I know you don’t know. It will mean much to me to have you know what it is, and it will mean much to you. If you wish to know what advertising is, send the word ‘yes’ down by the bell boy. 

– John E. Kennedy

While Thomas dismissed the note as cranky, Lasker intrigued by it, sent his response back downstairs – Yes and met him in his office. Here’s the essence of the most interesting conversation behind the historical definition of advertising.

Determined to learn Kennedy’s definition of advertising, Lasker asked a straight question – What is Advertising? Kennedy countered by asking Lasker what his conception of advertising was.

“It is news,” Lasker replied.

“No,” Kennedy said. “News is a technique of presentation, but advertising is a very simple thing. I can give it to you in three words.”

“Well,” Lasker exclaimed impatiently, “I am hungry! What are those three words?”

“Salesmanship in print: Kennedy said.”

Today, over a hundred-and-ten years later, this may not sound like a particularly powerful insight. But to Lasker’s ears it was a revelation.

Kennedy was the first of the copywriters to exploit the reason-why copy to the fullest. He was also the highest paid copywriter in 1904 earning over $16,000 a year, as compared to the average earnings of $4,000 of a top copywriter. Kennedy, as the chief copy writer of Lord & Thomas set out to learn everything about his clients’ businesses, develop selling points and test copy. He was known for his graphically distinctive ads with no-nonsense, hard-hitting copy.

Albert Lasker referred to Kennedy as the father of modern advertising, a title he could have easily claimed himself  for his contribution to the advertising industry.

1,000 Marbles

How do we spend our time on the planet? Do we fill it with mindless activity or do we consider it a precious gift?

Here’s a modern parable that has been in circulation through emails citing the source as anonymous since the 1990s. I  recently came across the source of this inspiring parable titled as 1,000 Marbles: A little something About Precious Time. Jeffrey Davis, KE9V wrote this as a wonderful short story, which everyone was using …putting it in emails and news letters, etc. He later published the book 1,000 Marbles, which includes this short story. Here’s the story:

“The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it’s the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or may be it’s the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling towards the backyard patio with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning, turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it.

I turned the dial up to listen to a Saturday morning talk show I heard an older sounding gentleman, with a golden voice. You know the kind, he sounded like he should be in broadcasting business. He was telling whoever he was talking with something about a thousand marbles.

I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say…

“Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you’re busy with your job. I’m sure they pay you well but it’s a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter’s dance recital.”

He continued, “Let me tell you something Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective of my own priorities.”

And that’s when he began to explain his theory of a thousand marbles. “You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.”

“Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900 which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in his entire lifetime.

Now stick with me Tom, I’m getting to the important part.”

“It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail,” he went on, “ and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy.”

“So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up to visit three toy stores to roundup 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear. Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away.

“I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.”

“Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.”

“It was nice to meet you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you once again.”

You could have heard a pin drop on the radio when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work that morning. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife with a kiss. “Come on honey, I’m taking you and the kids to breakfast.”

“What brought this on?” she asked me with a smile. “ Oh, nothing special, it’s just been a while since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. Hey can we stop at toy store while we’re out? I need to buy some marbles.”

Raymond Rubicam, Advertising’s Statesman


Raymond Rubicam (June 16, 1892 – May 8, 1978) was one of the twentieth century’s advertising giants. He was a great copy writer, whose work is remembered and admired even today. Started as a copy writer with N.W. Ayer & Son in Philadelphia, Rubicam demonstrated leadership, teaching managerial and innovative capabilities very early. In 1923, denied a partnership, the high school dropout and his college-educated colleague John Orr Young, started an agency Young & Rubicam, which later became one of the most respected advertising agencies in the world. In fact, when Raymond Rubicam retired to Arizona in 1944, Young & Rubicam was the second largest advertising agency in the world. He was recognized as advertising’s statesman.

Speaking of Raymond Rubicam, the legendary David Ogilvy said, “ He taught me that advertising can sell without being dishonest.”

To Rubicam, the way to sell through advertising was to get read first. And the way to get read is to say more about the reader and less about your product. He once wrote, “ Mirror the reader to himself and then show him afterwards how your product fits his needs.” He pioneered the notion of being consumer oriented. He always insisted:Understand the consumer.

During his career, Raymond Rubicam received numerous honors. He was chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies in 1935 and was given the gold medal for distinguished service to advertising. In 1974, he was named to the American Advertising Federation’s Hall of Fame and the next year to the Group’s Copywriter’s Hall of Fame. He was only the second living person ever elected to the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame.

Rubicam believed the content of advertising – copy and art – were the drivers of the business. He knew there was one sure way to stand out among the ad agency crowd. That’s Resisting the usual. Ideas need to be based on facts. Try to know more than your competitors do about the market, and put that knowledge into the hands of writers and artists with imagination and broad human sympathies.

Raymond Rubicam was a genius at picking big men and standing on their shoulders. He persuaded George Gallup (famous for his Gallup Polls), who was a professor of journalism at Northwestern University to join his agency to head the advertising research wing. Gallup, despite many other lucrative offers from other ad agencies, joined Rubicam as Vice President, Research in 1932. At Young & Rubicam, he pioneered new methods to research consumers’ preferences, prejudices, and their reading and radio-listening practices. Raymond Rubicam and Gallup brought a number of innovations to the advertising business.

  1. At a time when advertising was supposed to be earnest to be effective, Rubicam injected humor into ads.
  2. Young & Rubicam became the first agency to create comic book ads run in the Sunday comics. He developed a sequence-picture copy, which is an adaptation of dramatic and comic-strip technique to ads.
  3. They pioneered ads with short first paragraphs and headlines no more than 11 words long.
  4. The agency was the first to measure radio listening by scientific sampling.
  5. Started Y&R Research, a trust fund, profit-sharing and bonuses.

Rubicam will always be remembered forever some of the advertising’s most memorable pieces that he created for Steinway, Squibb and Rolls-Royce among others. Steinway’s The instrument of the Immortals, Squibb’s The Priceless Ingredient and Rolls-Royce’s No Rolls-Royce has ever worn out rank among the one hundred greatest advertisements during the twentieth century.

Medical Advertising: Pletal’s Attention-Grabbing Campaign!

Pletal Med Ad

Prescription-drug advertising requires a message, which quickly and clearly defines the product: what it is and what it does and why it is the best alternative.

Consider the case of a new brand in the market for intermittent claudication in the U.S.  For a long time Trental (pentoxyfylline) was rather the lone wolf having a dominant presence. Trental aggressively promoted the brand including a DTC campaign. But when it went generic in 1987, the promotional effort virtually came to a grinding halt. There was no immediate successor for almost fifteen years and consequently the treatment of intermittent claudication decreased. Furthermore, market research revealed that many physicians doubted that there was much more than placebo effect in pharmaceuticals for the condition. What is more, many patients as well as physicians accepted this symptom merely as an inevitable consequence of aging.

Pletal’s (cilostazol) advertising campaign, launched in the year 2000, offers a classic example of reviving interest in the product class and establishing the brand firmly in the minds of physicians. Otuska America Pharmaceutical and Pharmacia Corporation jointly marketed Pletal, for effective treatment of intermittent claudication, a symptom of peripheral arterial disease where a patient, usually elderly, will experience pain or cramping in the calf, thigh, or buttock when walking, that stops upon rest. The drug has vasodilatory and anti-platelet activity, which increases blood flow to the extremities.

The challenge for the marketing team on the brand was that the product category had drifted out of the prescribing physician’s consciousness. The creative assignment, therefore, was to revive physician and patient interest in the category and deliver a message of effectiveness convincingly.

The copy testing showed that physicians liked the idea of quality-of-life messages as positive activities such as walking faster without pain. The end-benefit approach – the smiling patient was not as appealing as most of the prescription-drug advertisements were fact-oriented, effectiveness-based increasing the skepticism of physicians to pharma advertising in general and a low-interest category in particular.

Phil Wiener, the vice-president and group art director at the advertising agency PACE, came up with an idea of combining a shoe with an odometer, when he was experimenting with graphic devices to represent Pletal’s effectiveness – visuals of improvement in walking such as multiple footprints and calculators of distance. When he showed this idea to ED Shankman, vice president and group director, copy at the agency, he wrote the copy line: More miles per lifetime on the spot spontaneously. The distinct product-defining element had been created.

The opening page of the ad presents the viewer with the close up of an oversized shoe with an odometer superimposed on it, filling almost the entire page with a telling impact stopping the reader in his tracks. Copy on the shoe between the laces and toe reads:

For your patients with

Intermittent claudication

Pletal offers more…

And beneath this text is the mileage dial of an odometer displaying a five-digit figure. The ad had raised the curiosity as to the more offered by Pletal and the relevance of odometer’s numbers. Pages two and three of the ad and the sales aid pay off the tease of the previous page. Running across the spread in a forceful display is the headline, More Miles per Lifetime, explaining the more and the odometer shoe. There is realistic, everyday picture of a gray-haired oder man seated in an easy chair tying his shoelaces. The shoes are properly sized with odometer on both shoes.

The tone of the copy or message too has changed from an imaginary odometer shoe to a practical patient-focused situation. The human element has been added; the patient, having been benefited from the use of Pletal, is preparing to go for a walk and across the bottom of the page in a strip photo of him striding along a path in a park-like setting. Copy on page three is minimal and straight forward:

Clinically proven to improve pain-free walking distance in patients diagnosed with intermittent claudication.

Pletal, The first therapy approved in 15 years for intermittent claudication

In the 12-page sales aid, what follows are pages on efficacy, mechanism of Pletal’s action, safety, dosing, and other mandatory product background.

Furthermore, on successive spreads, running along the top of the pages, the gray-haired man is seen as he walks through his neighborhood – past a line of stores accompanied by his dog, again in a park now with a female companion, on suburban street with a male friend, and lastly, on a seaside boardwalk with a child. As the representative reviews the scientific data on Pletal with the physician, the strip photos illustrate the patient benefits of the product, consistently and continuously highlighting the core theme – greater walking distance without pain. In other words, More miles per lifetime!

The advertising appeal comes from the fusion of two ordinary recognizable things – shoes and odometer. The giant-sized shoe is a strong impact device as its real value is fundamental to the patient condition and to the product. This ad ran in a number of leading medical journals.

The campaign’s strength and effectiveness lies in the physicians’ appreciation that the product can restore the patient’s independence. The symbolism of the easy chair too is important. Thanks to Pletal, we can get the patient out of that chair and moving again! 

Can you think of creating a graphic device and write compelling copy to highlight the core patient benefit that your product presents to grab the attention of physicians in today’s attention-deficit market place and sustain it?


The Laws of Simplicity


What is simplicity?

Simplicity is the state or quality of being simple. Simplicity also implies beauty, purity, or clarity. Epistemologically speaking, simplicity has also been related to truth. It is considered that all other things being equal, the simplest theory is the most likely to be true.

John Maeda, is a well-known graphic designer, computer scientist, academic and the author of the best selling book, The Laws of Simplicity, which is based on a research project to find ways for people to simplify their life in face of growing complexity. He explains in his book, the ten laws of simplicity and three keys to simplicity in simple terms. He was inducted into the New York Art Director’s Club Hall of Fame in 2009, and received the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) medal in 2011.

Ten Laws of Simplicity

  1. Reduce. The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.
  2. Organize. Organization makes a system of many appear fewer.
  3. Time. Savings in time feel like simplicity.
  4. Learn. Knowledge makes everything simpler.
  5. Differences. Simplicity and complexity need each other.
  6. Context. What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral.
  7. Emotion. More emotions are better than less.
  8. Trust. In simplicity we trust.
  9. Failure. Some things can never be made simple.
  10. The One. Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.

Three Keys of Simplicity

  1. Away. More appears like less by simply moving it far, far away.
  2. Open. Openness simplifies complexity.
  3. Power.Use less, gain more.

Follow these ten laws and three keys to achieve the simplicity you need to achieve in every communication and indeed everything you design.

Image Source: Wikipedia

Immortal Ad?


What is The Instrument of Immortals?

The Piano by Steinway & Sons of course!

Steinway & Sons began its The Instrument of the Immortals advertisement campaign in 1919 more than half a century after its emergence on the musical scene. The company built a strong reputation that it is the ultimate in sound, touch, durability and beauty by creating superior quality pianos and pricing them extravagantly.  A critic once observed that there seems to be only one thing that Steinway cannot do…they can’t build an inexpensive piano.

Celebrated composers and pianists such as Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner used Steinway pianos in their concerts as they were pleased with its sound and elegance. Within nine years of manufacturing its first piano, Steinway won the first prize medal in a London exhibition. In 1867, the company won the grand gold medal at the Paris World’s Fair for its Piano.

Early Steinway advertisements focused on these commendations, accentuating their worldwide reputation and association with superior musicianship. They did not have a formal advertising plan initially. Early advertisements, mostly written by the company executives were singing praises given to their products. They had restricted their market by targeting mainly to professional musicians and music lovers than ordinary consumers.

It was in 1900 that the famous advertising company, N. W. Ayer & Son convinced the top management at Steinway that they need an advertising strategy to direct the Steinway appeal to ordinary consumers. A 1961 advertisement of the Steinway pianos titled ‘The Highest Choice’ attempted to remove the perceived price sensitivities. It said: Do not let it be merely a question of initial cost when you make your choice of pianos. The Matchless music of the Steinway had lifted it above the ‘price’ atmosphere for all time.

In 1919, N. W. Ayer assigned Raymond Rubicam, a young, established copywriter to the Steinway account. While researching for the copy that best represented the client, Rubicam came across a proof book of Old Steinway advertisements and the idea came to him as a flash. Here’s how it happened in his own words: I learned that the Steinway had been used by practically all the greatest pianists and almost all the great composers since Wagner. But when I found the advertisements in the proof book I discovered that they consisted of lovely ladies sitting at pianos in lovely drawing rooms and that the text told little of the great Steinway. Without effort, the phrase formed in my mind, ‘The Instrument of the Immortals.’

The rest became history catapulting the Steinway advertising campaign into one of the most famous advertising campaigns in American History. The campaign features in the top 100 advertising campaigns in advertising history.

What made The Instrument of the Immortals a great ad? Raymond Rubicam was for the first time making an unambiguous association between Steinway pianos and the immortals who used them. A customer could now be linked to a master musician simply by owning a Steinway. What makes this ad highly effective is its psychology of association.

Although Steinway had a book called the Steinway Collection containing the paintings of the great masters and musicians who played their pianos, the company did not allow the agency to use the paintings in advertisements. Copies of the book were being given to purchasers of their pianos. This reluctance of not using these paintings in their ads stemmed from a fear that excessive advertising would put Steinway pianos on par with patent medicines, which were notorious for their obnoxious hard-sell techniques as the historian Richard K. Lieberman observed. It was an honest concern.

For the first time in 20 years of advertising, Steinway had actually received a considerable number of voluntary and wholly favorable comments on the ad. The success of The Instrument of Immortals, however, persuaded the top management to give consent to use the paintings of great masters and musicians who had played their pianos in their ads.

The Agency took two more important steps to supplement their advertising that resulted making the campaign a huge success. The sales of Steinway pianos grew steadily ever since. The two vital steps were:

  1. Introduction of an installment plan for the purchase of Steinway pianos. It was amazing to discover how many people had been hankering for a Steinway, but assumed that Steinways were not sold on easy payment terms.
  2. Persuaded Steinway to reopen the famous old concert hall connected with their offices in lower New York and to invite their prospective customers to hear without charge, some of the good concert pianists in recital on a Steinway.

Lou Gehrig’s ‘Farewell to Baseball’ Address

Lou Gehrig

Lou Gehrig

Henry Louis (Lou) Gehrig (June 19, 1903 – June 2, 1941) was an American Major League Baseball first baseman from New York City. He was nicknamed, The Iron Horse, for his durability and strength. He played his entire 17-year baseball career (1923 – 1939)  for the New York Yankees. He set a number of records and mainly remembered for his prowess as a hitter.

It is very unfortunate that he had to bid farewell to the game he loved most when he was 36-years of age due to his illness. He was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is now known as Lou Gehrig’s disease in North America.

On July 4th, 1939, The New York Yankees honored their hero, Lou Gehrig. When they asked him to make a speech to the many fans who packed the stadium, he delivered his Farewell to Baseball Address. In that famous, emotion-charged speech, which has been considered the Gettysburg Address of baseball, he shows how humble he is to have played the game of baseball with many great people by using grateful language for his teammates and associates.

Here is the video link to Lou Gehrig’s Farewell to Baseball Address, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth, delivered on July4, 1939 at New York. His speech is one of the most moving speeches in the history of not only baseball but also in the world of sports. Here is the text of his famous speech:

Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day?

Sure I’m lucky.

Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Higgins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy?

Sure I’m lucky.

When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift – that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies– that’s something.

When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter– that’s something.

When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have education and build your body – it’s a blessing.

When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed — that’s the finest I know.

So, I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for.

Two years after he gave his farewell address, Lou Gehrig died. His time may have been cut short, but not his place in the game for his legacy will live for ever. He lives forever in the hearts and minds of baseball fans.


Winners and Losers


In the privacy of our minds, we all talk to ourselves. One might ask whether a self-talk, which is an inner monologue is pointless. In fact, one scientific paper on self-talk asks: What can we tell ourselves that we don’t already know? Researchers, however, observed that self-talk – the act of giving ourselves mental messages can help us learn and perform at our best. A review of more than two dozen studies published in the journal, Perspectives on Psychological Science about a couple of years ago, found that there is another kind of mental message that is even more useful, called instructional self-talk.

Denis Waitley, the renowned psychologist, who created the very useful and highly acclaimed program, The Psychology of Winning describes ten principles that could help cultivate winning habits based on his research studying the behaviors of super achievers in various occupations. He has presented detailed action steps for each of these ten winning principles that are eminently implementable. He also explained what winners and losers say to themselves during their process of self-talk. These would be of help in identifying one’s current behaviors and to reinforce or change them for better.

Winner’s Self-Talk Loser’s Say to Themselves
I was good today. I’ll be better tomorrow. With my luck, I was bound to fail.
I Want to! I can do it! I have to. I can’t!
I see myself changing, growing, achieving, and winning. They’re my hangups, faults and stupidities … and I’m stuck with them.
I have a plan to make it happen. I’ll do what is necessary to get what I want. I’ll try to hang in there – muddle through the day somehow.
I take credit or blame for my performance. I can’t understand why life did this to me.
Of course I can do it! I’ve practiced it mentally a thousand times. How can you expect me to do it? I don’t know how?
I do things well because I’m that type of person. I’d rather be somebody else.
I live every moment, enjoying as much, relating as much, giving as much as I possibly can. I’m only concerned with me today.
I know who I am, where I am coming from and where I am going. Who knows what I could do if only I had the chance.
Tell me what you want, may be we can work on it together. There is no point in discussing it, we are not even on the same wavelength.

Self-Talk has a powerful impact on emotional well-being and motivation. Becoming aware of exactly what you are saying to yourself about yourself can help you understand why you react the way you do to events and people in your life. It can also give you a handle on controlling your moods, repeating your successes and short-circuiting your shortcomings.

Caples on Copy

John Caples (1900 - 1990)

John Caples (1900 – 1990)

Advertising Age wrote of John Caples in their special issue, The Advertising Century:

“For more than 50 years, John Caples served as one of advertising’s most effective copy writers. Caples mastered results-oriented mail-order copy at Ruthrauff & Ryan, where he wrote, arguably, the 20th century’s most successful such ad: They laughed when I sat down at the piano – but when I started to Play! As a teacher, lecturer, and writer, he stressed simplicity and getting to the point quickly. He joined what became BBDO (Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn) in 1927, where he served almost to the end of his days.”

John Caples, the greatest direct marketing copywriter ever, wrote about a 7-point checklist for evaluating advertising copy in his book Making Ads Pay, first published in 1957. He asked himself these questions for every piece of copy he wrote. Although these questions primarily refer to ad copy, they apply to every marketing communication context.

  1. Does your ad hold the audience?
  2. Does your copy hold the audience?
  3. Does your copy create desire?
  4. Do you prove it is a bargain?
  5. Do you establish credibility?
  6. Do you make it easy to act?
  7. Do you give prospects a reason to act at once?

Every time you write an advertising copy be it for a drop-off literature, visual aid, Web content, put it through a test by asking these questions. If the answer is ‘Yes’ to all the seven questions go ahead. If the answer is ‘No’ even for one question, remember you have still work to do.